A BANNED driver who filmed himself inhaling from balloons while speeding at 90mph just hours before a horrific crash killed three of his friends has been jailed.

Survivor Shane Loughlin, 32, from Rumney, Cardiff was found alive in the wreckage of a Volkswagen Tiguan lost in woodlands in St Mellons for 46 hours trapped next to the bodies of three dead friends and one other survivor.

Eve Smith, 21, was killed with Darcy Ross, both aged 21 and from Newport, and Rafel Jeanne, 24, from Cardiff, while bank worker Sophie Russon, 20, survived with Loughlin in the wreckage – found nearly two days later by police.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that hours before the tragedy at 2am on Saturday, March 4, Loughlin was driving the SUV along the M4 motorway with no hands on the wheel as he inhaled from a balloon.

He has just been locked up for 17 months.

Loughlin was jailed for 16 months for dangerous driving and driving while disqualified and given a consecutive term of one month for being in breach of a community order imposed after assaulting his girlfriend and causing criminal damage in her home.

He admitted all the offences.

Prosecutor Jason Howells said: “The Volkswagen Tiguan was later involved in a fatal collision that has resulted in a lot of media and public attention.

“This defendant was not the driver when that collision occurred but a rear seat passenger and as such the prosecution opening will include limited information as to events surrounding the fatal collision.”

Mr Jeanne was the driver of the Tiguan at the time of the fatal crash.

The court was told the five and a man Joel Lia had been “partying” at Loughlin’s caravan in Porthcawl where they had drank alcohol and inhaled balloons.

Mr Howells played videos taken from Loughlin’s own iPhone which he recorded showing him inhaling balloons while driving the SUV.

Mr Lia was sitting next to him in the passenger and he was also inhaling balloons.

The defendant was speeding at between 80mph and 90mph on the M4 and didn’t have his hands on the steering wheel at times.

He has 23 previous convictions for 37 offences.

These included dangerous driving, drink driving, drug driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

Andrew Taylor representing the defendant says: “Partying and driving motor vehicles is a cocktail that should never be mixed.

“This should be the indelible reminder.

“That night three males and three females went out.

“We all know the rough journeys that they decided to take."

Mr Taylor added: “We know that all three males in the motor vehicle took it in turns to drive.

“Rafel Jeanne was set to be the first driver but because of the manner of his driving Joel Lia took over.

“Joel might consider himself extremely fortunate because he exited the car at Llanedeyrn shortly before the fatal accident in St Mellons that cost three young people their lives.

“So whatever happens after this incident, with all the tragedy that comes out of it, people should remember when they get into motor vehicles that intoxicants, whether they be drink, drugs, or a combination of both, should not be mixed with driving a motor vehicle.”

The Recorder of Cardiff Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke told the defendant: “You know full well the terrible consequences that can arise from a road traffic collision.

“That night it was luck, not judgement, that meant that you did not injure or kill anyone yourself.”

Loughlin was banned from driving for two years, eight months and two weeks.

He will have to sit an extended driving test if he wants to have a full licence again.